I'm in the middle on the left just beside the man in the yellow shirt.

Although neither of us had really trained properly for it, N° 1 sprog and I ambled around the annual 20 k course this afternoon, clocking up a fairly respectable 2h10 time. The festive atmosphere was great as ever and it is always a thrill to be part of a 30,000-strong crowd jogging along the Rue de la Loi. The novelty this time was a staggered start. I understand the intention – to avoid the crush at the off – but I wonder how effective it was at avoiding crushes elsewhere: the tunnels seemed particularly full, but that may have been because we began from the middle of the third wave (whereas last year I was much nearer the front). It was hot this year. The Avenue Louise tunnels were very muggy and the shadeless Avenue Franklin Roosevelt climb was a toughie. Later, I discovered our times and those of my colleagues on the website and I was very proud. For a small institution, the European Economic and Social Committee sports quite a few accomplished runners as well as the amblers like me, one of my deputy Secretary Generals (Nikos), our Head of Communication (Peter), our accountant (Claus) and our nurse (Caroline). Congratulations in particular go to Marc and Fausta, head and number two respectively of our Various Interests Group secretariat. But the undoubted star of the show was the Head of our Budget Unit, Johannes Kind, who raced around in just 1h15, coming in 126th out of 30,000 runners. Well done, Johannes, and well done, everybody!